Hard work and a strong team behind the scenes has seen Altherm JCR Yamaha do the double, with Kirk Gibbs crowned the Fox New Zealand Motocross Championship’s MX1 winner and Maximus Purvis taking out the MX2 title.
Well-deserved celebrations ensued after the final round of four wrapped up on Sunday, with two of the team’s riders on top of their podiums at Taupo’s Digger McEwen Motocross Park.
Altherm JCR Yamaha’s Team Manager Josh Coppins is a very happy man to have his riders win both the MX1 and MX2 titles in a season.
“I’m really so happy to get these results in MX1 and MX2. It’s my first MX1 title as a team manager and I thank Kirk for his professionalism in nailing that for us. We’ve had the red plate many times and been close many times but never quite got it done. To get the double is just incredible and I’m stoked for Max that he pulled it off.”
Coppins, who has amassed multiple national and international titles himself over his long and successful racing career, knows what it takes to win – an unbeatable crew.
“The biggest thing I’m happy about is the team. We had a really good crew this year and I feel like we worked super hard. I know everyone says that, but I think we went to the next level. These two wins are a great reward for our Altherm JCR Yamaha team – they deserved it!”
“Just because you work hard doesn’t always mean you get the rewards in motorsport. It can go either way. I’ve been on the other side plenty of times, so I’m pleased to get the final result and I’m going to enjoy it with my riders and my team. I couldn’t be prouder of them all,” he adds.
Sunshine Coast-based Gibbs knows how the rollercoaster of motocross racing goes. He won the New Zealand MX1 championship in 2018 with another brand, then just missed the title last year by a meager 5 points. This year, he bested defending champion Cody Copper by 4 points.
“It’s so awesome to win the championship again. To come so close last year and just miss out was disappointing. Everything just went really well for me this season and things started clicking for me. I was riding well and the Yamaha YZ450 was great,” Gibbs says of his successful 2020 championship where he won 6 out of 12 motos.
“Working hard with Josh during the weeks between the four rounds and with my Australian team helped me to feel really comfortable and strong, which was what I believe led to the championship win,” he adds.
Thirty-one-year-old Gibbs used his experience to manage the final round well. He won the first race and from there had a 10-point lead.
“Kirk was able to manage it and bring it home. He’s an older rider with a lot of experience. He’s won this New Zealand championship before and the Australian championship in 2015, so he knows what it takes to seal the deal,” Coppins explains.
Gibbs settled for second in the final two motos, knowing that he’d have the points on board to take the MX1 trophy back across The Ditch with him.
“I’m stoked to get another championship over here and I’m really stoked for Josh and Amy [Coppins] and the team. I know how much hard work that everyone that’s involved puts in. I couldn’t be any more thankful for them and my team back home for being part of it,” Gibbs says.
Mangakino’s Purvis (19) had a slightly more nail-biting road to victory on-board his Yamaha YZ250F. Coming into the final round he had a narrow 4-point lead over main rival Josiah Natzke. A second in the opening moto meant he was on track for the title but a wrong tyre choice for the second race dropped him back down the pack and piled on the pressure for the final moto. Coppins used his wealth of knowledge to help Purvis out.
“I convinced him to go back to the previous tyre from race 1 and he was a different kid in race 3. He led from pretty much start to finish,” he says.
Purvis (19) described the championship-winning feeling as “unreal” as he snatched the title by 6 points over Natzke.
“I’ve been working so hard and fighting all season and it feels so good to take the win. It definitely came down to the wire in the last race, but I wanted that win badly. I fought through a couple riders then just put my foot down, went for it, and pulled the win off,” he says.
The Altherm JCR Yamaha team’s other two riders Hamilton’s Kayne Lamont (MX1) and Christchurch-based Dylan Walsh (MX2) both finished fourth overall in their championships.
Lamont has had a rough season after sustaining heavy bruising at January’s Woodville GP, which hampered his riding for the first two national rounds. At the penultimate race meeting, he injured his thumb and had to make the best of riding through the pain there in Hawke’s Bay and again yesterday.
“The day was a struggle, but I managed to get third in qualifying. In the races I had good starts and was in the top three and went on to finish fourth in every race. Overall I ended up fourth for the championship, which is decent for what I was dealing with, I think,” Lamont says.
For 2019 British MX2 Championship winner Walsh, the high of a win in the first race on Sunday was swiftly followed by the low of a crash in the second moto.
“Then I didn’t really ride like myself after that. It’s been an awesome time racing in NZ with Josh and Ben [Townley]. I can’t thank them enough for this opportunity,” Walsh says.
His plans for the rest of 2020 are on hold now with the Coronavirus Disease affecting race calendars worldwide.
Coppins and his wife Amy would like to thank all the riders, mechanics, sponsors, supporters, fans and followers who have helped make this double championship victory possible. They are very grateful for everything and are so thrilled to walk away from the 2020 motocross season with two title-winning riders.
1st Cody Cooper – 70
2nd Kirk Gibbs (YZ450) – 69
3rd Hamish Harwood – 62
4th Kayne Lamont (YZ450) – 54
5th Ethan Martens – 46
1st Maximus Purvis (YZ250F) – 69
2nd Josiah Natzke – 67
3rd Dylan Walsh (YZ250F) – 63
4th James Scott – 56
5th Morgan Fogarty – 47
OVERALL CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS:
1st Kirk Gibbs (YZ450) – 280
2nd Cody Cooper – 276
3rd Hamish Harwood – 244
4th Kayne Lamont (YZ450) – 203
5th Ethan Martens – 176
1st Maximus Purvis (YZ250F) – 252
2nd Josiah Natzke – 246
3rd James Scott – 228
4th Dylan Walsh (YZ250F) – 224
5th Caleb Ward – 188
ALTHERM JCR YAMAHA WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING SPONSORS: Altherm Window Systems, JCR, Yamaha Motor New Zealand, Yamalube, GYTR, bLU cRU, YMF, YMI, Holland Collision Centre, Ward Demolition, Star Moving, Contract Consultants, Fox, Workshop Graphics, Akrapovic, Motoseat, Motomuck, Vertex Pistons, SKF, Renthal, DID Chains & Twin Air.
Photos CLMINTIEPIX, Words Altherm JCR Yamaha